Rancho Santiago Board OKs Alcohol Ban
After a complaint that liquor was consumed at off-campus meetings at taxpayer expense, the Rancho Santiago College Board voted unanimously Monday night to adopt a policy banning alcohol at all district functions.
Before the meeting, Trustee Charles W. (Pete) Maddox said the policy was needed because “we should be setting a good example. When we were elected, we promised to hold ourselves up (to) higher standards.
Trustee Carol Enos, who said in December that she would oppose the plan, reversed her position Monday night, saying: “I don’t think it’s worth fighting over.”
Maddox first proposed and wrote the policy after noticing a $2,545 bill at the Antonello Ristorante in Santa Ana for four nights of board activities there in August, 1991. The bill included a $413.75 tab for alcoholic beverages.
The policy states that “no alcohol will be consumed by any member of the Board of Trustees at any official meeting where the business of the district is being conducted . . . (and) no public funds will be used to cover the cost of alcohol consumption at any meeting of the board for any reason.”
Current and former members of the board have said that candidates for top administrative posts had been interviewed at the dinners. Beer was also occasionally served at informal work sessions at hotels.
The state education code does not prohibit drinking alcoholic beverages with dinner, said Chancellor Vivian Blevins. However, she added that since she became chancellor in late 1991, all meetings of the board, except one, have been held on campus.
Maddox has previously alleged that the attempt to include the bar bills as legitimate meal expenses at Antonello was prompted by former board members Rodolfo Montejano and John Dowden, and current trustees Shirley Ralston and Enos. He further alleged that the district routinely picked up bar tabs for trustees.
Because the four--Montejano, Dowden, Ralston and Enos--formed a voting majority at that time, Maddox said he and the other trustees could not change the policy.
Enos and Ralston have denied those allegations, saying that Maddox was attempting to discredit them. On Monday night, Enos said that it had been the board’s unwritten policy not to pay bar bills. She said the Antonello bar bill was paid by mistake.